Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chicken Marbella recreated into cocktail food for a party buffet



Through the years I’ve made Chicken Marbella many times for dinner parties and it’s always a crowd pleaser. With its irresistible and alluring flavors, the chicken with pieces of dark fruit, green olives and capers scattered over, napped with a slightly sweet and savory sauce, the inevitable question poised at the dinner table is always, “What IS this? It’s fantastic.”

Well, start with lots of garlic, vinegar, oregano, brown sugar, wine, capers and briny green olives, dried prunes, or plums as they are now called, and marinate with chicken overnight. Bake in the oven and it couldn’t be an easier dish to prepare. It practically makes itself. It’s perfect served hot, at room temperature, or cold. Could you ask for anything more?

Chicken Marbella was one of the most popular recipes ever to come from the wildly successful Silver Palate Cookbook, which recently published its 25 anniversary edition. The original recipe called for cut up chicken, but in today’s world, if I were making it for a dinner party, I would probably use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or cut in half bone-in chicken breasts.



But herein is our dilemma. We needed a dish to take to our condo’s Christmas party at the pool the other night and it needed to be a dish that people would be able to serve themselves in small portions, hold up well on a buffet, and allow to be eaten with one of those pitiful plastic forks they invariably give you as these kinds of events. Thus the reincarnation of Chicken Marbella that I present today. Sliced chicken breasts seemed like the perfect solution and it was. Everyone raved about it, as what always happens when you serve Chicken Marbella. Even 25 years since The Silver Palate first published this recipe, there are still those among us who have never, ever tasted Chicken Marbella and some of them were at this party. There’s no shame in that. It's fun to introduce new people to Chicken Marbella. But their first reaction is still the same as it’s always been – “What IS this? It’s fantastic.”

Make people happy - serve this at your next buffet. Nothing could be easier or more of a “people pleaser” than the intriguing and exotic Chicken Marbella. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love this dish and it always distinguishes itself among the other buffet offerings “the very best of the best.”



Chicken Marbella recreated into cocktail food for a party buffet
Adapted From The Silver Palate Cookbook

6 large plump boneless skinless chicken breasts halves
½ head of garlic, peeled & finely pureed
¼ cup dried oregano
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup pitted dried prunes or dried prunes as they are now called, bite size preferred, or large ones cut in bite size pieces
½ cup pitted Spanish green olives
½ cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup dry white wine
¼ cup Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

In a large bowl combine chicken, garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers & juice and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken with brown sugar and pour white wine around the chicken. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when it registers 160 degrees F on an oven thermometer.

Remove the chicken breasts and slice into serving pieces. Transfer sliced chicken, and with a slotted spoon, transfer prunes, olives and capers over chicken to a serving platter. Discard the bay leaves. Moisten the chicken with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauce boat.

Good served hot, at room temperature, or cold. To serve cold, cool to room temperature in cooking juices before transferring to a serving platter. If chicken has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to return to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juice over chicken.

Notes: Don’t skip the overnight marinating; it’s essential for flavor. If in a hurry, marinate at least 4 hours. To turn back into the original recipe, use two whole chickens cut into serving pieces, or quartered, or any combination of chicken parts, including halved breasts or all thighs. Either version is good hot, cold or room temperature.




This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, and On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable.

Have a great weekend everyone.

50 comments:

  1. I love this! I love the combination of the sweet dried prunes and the tang of the olives! It's one of my favorite dishes!

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  2. No, I have never heard of this recipe and yes, I want an excuse to make this very soon. It looks like it could easily be cut in half for a smaller version. A lot of capers, oil, vinegar, makes it more interesting to me. Thank you for sharing this.

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  3. Great idea!

    I still go to The Silver Palate.. the first time I was served this was at an all ladies dinner..YRS ago!!
    It's a classic isn't it?

    Ooh a pool party..it's so frisky here.. w/ a light dusting of snow..

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  4. That chicken looks so moist and tasty! A wonderful recipe.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. You hit a nostalgic high for me with this post. Over thirty years ago, sitting in a white rocking chair on the porch of an old home turned into a lovely shop in Hilton Head, I pulled out my just-purchased copy of the Silver Palate and entered a new era of cooking!! This was one of the first recipes I made and it remains a favorite today. Earlier this month, I was looking at my tattered and stained copy and thinking I probably should replace it. I don't know if I can let my "old friend" go!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  6. Sam you've out done yourself on this one. Gorgeous and I loveeee olives.

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  7. This, Sam, is wonderful! And too pretty! The salty, tangy olives and capers paired with the sweet brown sugar and dried fruit must be marvelous and perfect for chicken. I have never trued Chicken Marbella (didn't even know what it was!) but now I want to try it! Lucky party guests who got to eat yours!

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  8. Brilliant! I've never seen this recipe before, and my reaction too, was "What IS this - it sounds and looks fantastic!" Love the combination of salt and sweet, and the way you set it up for a cocktail buffet! Hope you're enjoying the holiday preps, Sam!

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  9. I have never seen this recipe before either! It sounds absolutely wonderful.

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  10. This was probably one of the very first dishes that I made from The Silver Palate Cookbook. Serving it for a first course makes sure itis still included!!

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  11. Oh my goodness. I remember this from The Silver Palate and I love how you made it easy for a crowd. I have 30 people coming Christmas Eve. I am adding this to my buffet. You are a grand problem solver, Sam!

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  12. Count me among those who've never seen this recipe. It looks delicious! I'm going to have to add it my list to try.

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  13. Another one of your great chicken recipes and adaptations to add to my growing colection. You always come up with something wonderful just when I'm thinking of what to serve for a special meal.
    Warmest Regards.

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  14. Sam, I'm one of the ones who never heard of it, but I plan on making it soon. Love all the ingredients, especially the prunes, aka dried plums. Thanks so much for another wonderful recipe!

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  15. This one is a keeper; all the ingredients area perfect blend; have to try this and I have never heard of this gem; thank you for sharing.
    Rita

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  16. Put me into the never had it column, but it's a gorgeous dish and surely was the best on the buffet. It sounds delicious, but I'm not sure about the prunes - of course I have loved everything you've made with fruit so far.

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  17. Oh my, I'm one (of the few) that has never had this and it looks amazing! Big flavors and beautiful presentation, what more could we ask for:@)

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  18. Sam, I forgot about this delicious chicken dish! I actually did a post on it a while back. I'm so happy you reminded me about it. I'm going to make it for one of our Christmas meals! And I love the idea of making it with the skinless boneless chicken breasts instead of chicken pieces .......... thanks!

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  19. I have that cookbook - surprise, surprise! I'll be making this for holiday company! Thanks for sharing!

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  20. I must have been living under a rock since I hadn't heard of this either...but I'm glad I have now. How beautiful and delicious!

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  21. Ok, now I want to know for myself, "what is this"? The flavors sound like an alchemy of wonderful spices and aromatics. My husband would love this!

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  22. I've always loved that cookbook. Have so many favorites in there. But I'm one who's never tried chicken Marbella ! Really, Sam, it looks divine. Definitely will try it this winter.
    Yes, I'm slowly settling in. A tree is up, not decorated, but up. :) not cooking much yet though.

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  23. Have bookmarked this it sound delicious. Have a great Christmas and we wish you a healthy and wealthy 2013, Diane

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  24. I too have that cookbook and like Barbara, have never made Chicken Marbella. I was in Sarasota for a day and night earlier this week. Thought of you and Meakin, but had no time to get in touch. We were helping a friend with her new Villa.

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  25. I loved the original dish, Sam, but your spin on it is a wonderful idea. Your dish has fantastic eye appeal and I'll wager it was the hit of the party. I've bookmarked this to try myself. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

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  26. I really love this chicken breast recipe. Wonderful flavours with dried prunes and olives. Mouthwatering clicks, Sam.

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  27. I've not made this before but it looks gorgeous and would be reasonably easy to transport. It's breakfast time here but my mouth is watering at the thought of all those wonderful flavours melding together.

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  28. Sam this sounds incredible. You know me and my love affair with capers and olives. And throw in some sweet fruit and this is a must try. Perfect for a buffet. I've G+'d this one.

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  29. looks so good your cooking is the best

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  30. I have had the original version on my "try soon" list for FAR too long. The olives taunt me every time that I see the picture.

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  31. Great idea for a buffet. I love the Silver Palate Cookbook.

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  32. Waw, dear Sam! What a glorous feast for the eyes & mouth!! Ooh yes!! It sure looks really pretty & amazing!!

    Yummy Yum! Happy Holidays to you & your loved ones too! :) xxx

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  33. This chicken is absolutely perfect to take for a dinner party...I love the idea of prunes, olives and capers...so flavorful!
    Thanks for the recipe Sam, and I sure will try this.
    Have a great week!

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  34. I love chicken marbella but yours looks out of sight!! SO delicious - this is bookmarked - I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!
    Mary x

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  35. Hi Sam,
    Your Chicken Marbella looks delicious, we will just love it. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great day and come back real soon!
    Miz Helen

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  36. I've never had this before, but it looks wonderful! I'll bet it is a crowd-pleaser. Just hte kind of recipe we all need for the holidays!

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  37. What a gorgeous display!

    This recipe (except the sugar) is very similar to one I've used for years with chicken and pork that I got from Cocina Criolla (a Puerto Rican cookbook). There it's called 'fricassee'. Love what prunes do to create a sauce.

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  38. I loved the Silver Palate cookbook -- how can this yummy sounding dish have escaped me? Will try it soon!

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  39. Sam, this is incredible, and I am SO making this. Your last photo sealed the deal. I used to have the Silver Palate cookbook, but got rid of it during one of our recent moves. I'm so glad you resurrected this recipe, it looks fantastic.

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  40. What a wonderful idea to make Chicken Marbella for a buffet dinner, Sam. The flavors are so exceptional that even a small portion will be very memorable!

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  41. Hi Sam,
    I am featuring your excellent looking chicken today on foodie friday. Thanks so much for contributing such wonderful recipes to our party each week. Happy Holidays to you.

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  42. Oh, wow! This chicken looks so delicious -- I love olives so I think this would be a big hit!

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  43. This is a very interesting recipe! It looks like a great make ahead meal. Pinning it!

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  44. Cannot wait to try it.It is on my back burner so is the barn you posted last year at this time for a future oil painting.
    It was smashing!

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  45. I made this recipe as described, but cutting the chicken into bite-sized chunks. After baking, I put the amazing mixture into a croc pot for a Holiday Party buffet. The recipe received rave reviews! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  46. I still LOVE my Silver Palate cookbook and I thank you for preparing, publishing, and re-introducing Chicken Marbella to all of us, Sam! I will certainly make it, and I won't even wait for company to do so! Beautifully presented as always with your great photography! Enjoy the warmth of your winter home!

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  47. how many servings for this recipe as part of a luncheon buffet? thanks

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    1. Hi Liz,
      I tried to reply via email, but your account is set up with a no-reply and you didn't leave an address where I could reach you. I hope you check back and see this. How many this serves depends on several things - the size of the chicken breasts, what you are serving with it and the appetite of your guests. Each of the 6 breasts, if they are good size, should serve 2 people, making the recipe appropriate for 12. If the breasts are large and you serving a couple of side dishes in the buffet, you could possibly get 15 to 16 servings. If you have other questions, please feel free to email me with a reply address where I can correspond with you. My email can be found in my profile, but here it is: samhoffer (at) gmail (dot) com.
      Sam

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  48. Made this for a party I gave over the weekend but substituted the prunes for a half cup of dried apricots and a half cup of craisins. It came out GREAT! Thanks for the recipe!

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Sam